Logan Cup now wide open

HARARE - The destiny of this season’s Logan Cup is now wide open after Mountaineers seized the initiative by toppling Mid West Rhinos off the summit with an emphatic nine-wicket victory at Mutare Sports Club.

Timycen Maruma (87), Donald Tiripano (52), Shingi Masakadza (61) and Vusi Sibanda (52) all weighed in with crucial half centuries to mastermind Mountaineers’ heavy win over Rhinos.

Only two rounds of matches are left in the country’s premier first class four-day competition which has seen a see-saw affair at the top of the standings.

Defending champions Mashonaland Eagles, Kwekwe’s Rhinos and now Mountaineers of Mutare have all tasted the top position in the last three weeks.

Mountaineers are on 23 points from seven matches followed by Mid West Rhinos in second with 18 points while Mashonaland Eagles sit on third with 16 points from the same number of matches.

Bulawayo’s Matabeleland Tuskers — the only team that has had its hopes of putting their hands on this year’s championship blown away — anchor the bottom of the table with 10 points.

The most they can get if they are to win their remaining two fixtures with a bonus point is 20 points which is still below what leaders Mountaineers have amassed so far at this stage.

Mash Eagles square off with current leaders Mountaineers in their remaining two fixtures and their home match at Harare Sports Club beginning on May 6 will be crucial as it will determine if the last match away at Mutare Sports Club will be as important or only of academic interest.

A win for the Eagles will take them to 20 points, three off Mountaineers and possibly to 21 if they are to do so with a bonus point while a draw will also not be good enough for the Harare side.

On the other hand, a victory for Mountaineers coupled with a defeat for Mid West Rhinos in the other fixture in Bulawayo against Matabeleland Tuskers will give the Manicaland side the prestigious trophy.

But should the Eagles win in Harare and Rhinos triumph in Bulawayo it would still be game on meaning that the championship could only be decided in the last round of matches.

Mash Eagles coach Stanley Timoni, who made history by becoming only the first coach in the domestic league to win all the country’s three trophies (Logan Cup, Pro 50 and T20) in a single season last year, is confident they can defend their title.

“Truly speaking, it’s about character...it’s a battle and we need to fight and win the first one. We also need to prepare ourselves physically and mentally,” Timoni told the Daily News yesterday.

So as it stands, Mountaineers have the upper hand in the race but if they slip up, Mid West Rhinos and Eagles are ready to pounce.

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